Forks twirl through build-your-own pastas in a wide array of sauces and toppings, which lead Pastabilities' menu of Italian fare. Portobello mushrooms, eggplant, chicken, and beef steep in warm lakes of marinara, regaling nostrils with tales of sun-soaked tomato fields and scarecrows' first steps. A full line of retail sauces and pastas crafted in-house for shipment to doorsteps begs to fill steaming pots in home kitchens, and catering trays parade pasta and panini for up to six people or three sets of Hall & Oates impersonators.
The warm fragrances of homemade pasta and gleaming candlelight herald selections from Enzo & Lucia Ristorante's mouthwatering dinner menu. Maneuver into Italian gastronomy as handily as Chef Boyardee's moped with a succulent duet of prosciutto and melon ($8.95), whose delectable duality scintillates in the charming dining room or sun-dappled outdoor seating. The vitello Enzo ($22.95) arms veal endearingly with asparagus spears and a warm cloak of fontina cheese, while tender arborio rice, a light tomato sauce, and a Neptunian who's-who of succulence populate the risotto pescatore ($21.95).
In 1993, a few entrepreneurs transformed the basement of a Minneapolis apartment building into an Italian restaurant. It became the first Buca di Beppo. The owners of that inaugural location soon found themselves riding a wave of popularity and marinara sauce as they opened new restaurants across the nation. Today, the eatery occupies 99 locations nationwide, from downtown San Francisco to Times Square, New York.
At each location, chefs maintain the northern and southern Italian flavors that made the original so popular, adding only a few American twists. They also supply family-style servings, which help make Buca di Beppo a favorite place for families and friends to gather in large, hungry groups. The chefs bake up batches of Cheesy Bread Florentine, a colorful combo of spinach, roma tomatoes, and garlic sprinkled over Italian bread and sealed in place with fresh, melted cheeses. For entr?es, they prepare dishes with an eye toward quantity, both of portion and choice; they whip up Veal Parmigiana, Baked Ziti, and classic Italian-American staples like Ravioli and Lasagna. And in keeping with the convivial atmosphere, they also serve truly decadent desserts. Their Mt. Vesuvius Dark Chocolate Cake erupts with melted chocolate, and their Colossal Brownie Sundae towers with six scoops of ice cream and tiers of sundae trimmings.
Specializing in thick, Sicilian?style deep-dish pizza, Jet's has indulged palates since 1978, when the eponymous Jetts brothers opened the first joint in Sterling Heights, Michigan. Crusts made from fresh housemade dough prepared daily buckle under the weight of 100% real mozzarella cheese and toppings such as grilled chicken and fresh hand-chopped vegetables, accompanied by sides such as hot wings, cinnamon sticks, or Jet's Bread topped with cheese, garlic, and butter. Stacks of meat and veggies pile onto piping-hot subs, and a variety of healthy salads helps to avoid the wrath of the Food Pyramid's ancient golems armed with giant wooden tongs.
The slice-savvy staff at Wa-Pa-Ghetti’s Pizza slather sauce made with vine ripened tomatoes atop the handcrafted crusts of thin, thick, and stuffed pies. More than 20 toppings mingle on pizzas, which are always made to order and emerge from ovens about half an hour after diners send orders via carrier kites into the kitchen. Chefs also assemble 15 kinds of sandwiches and a host of American fare to round out the menu. Barbecued ribs and chicken are slathered with the house sauce, and baked potatoes come adorned with edible topping toupees in combinations inspired by Italian and Mexican cuisines or loaded with a custom combination.